As the weather starts to warm up and a seemingly endless winter comes to an end, you’re probably itching to get out to the great outdoors and explore some truly incredible national parks. But if you’re someone that prefers to forgo the crowds and chaos, while still craving all the excitement and adventure of a big-name park, you’re in luck!
We’ve got a list of some of the lesser known and underrated U.S. National Parks that have all the same impressive sights as the popular ones, without all the hullabaloo. Check it out!
Katmai National Park – Alaska
If you’re an animal lover, Katmai National Park in Alaska is a must-see. This stunning preserve features the largest population of Alaska brown bears in the world! For a closer look, there are tours that you can book that will provide you with a wealth of in-depth information on this fascinating species. But that’s not all; the park also has a host of active volcanoes and other geological oddities that are endless fun to explore.
Great Basin National Park – Nevada
When it comes to sheer variety, Great Basin National Park takes the cake. There’s something for every sort of adventure-seeker to enjoy. The grounds are great for camping, and the breathtaking sky makes it the perfect spot for some star-gazing. If you enjoy hiking, there’s the 13,000-foot summit of Wheeler Peak to conquer. And that’s just scratching the surface; head underground (with the help of an experienced guide, of course) and feast your eyes on the astounding natural wonder of the Lehman Caves. It’s an otherworldly experience, right below your feet.
Lassen Volcanic Park – California
Craving a little excitement with your nature? Then it’s time to take a trip to Lassen Volcanic Park — and be sure to bring your camera. The area is peppered with an assortment of active volcanoes and hydrothermal vents. Visitors can watch hot streams of water shoot up towards the sky, or check out the appropriately named Boiling Springs Lake. This natural wonder is consistently a sweltering 125 degrees. Now that’s a cool way to get in touch with nature.
Petrified Forest National Park – Arizona
In terms of natural beauty, it’s hard to beat the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. This stunning spot is home to a veritable forest of petrified wood, some dating back hundreds of millions of years! Have any amateur archaeologists in the family? They’ll adore traversing the park for all sorts of fossils (including the occasional dinosaur bone). If you’re more into present-day nature, there’s a vast ecosystem to explore. With endless adventures and some truly mind-blowing views, this is one park you can’t afford to pass by.
Isle Royale National Park – Michigan
Want to really get away? Then Isle Royale National Park in Michigan is right up your alley. This island is the largest in Lake Superior; it’s also one of the most isolated. No vehicles are allowed on the island, and human visitors are strictly regulated. That’s because this island forest is home to a truly impressive population of wolves and moose. Animal lovers and hardcore campers can sign up for a sojourn on the island that brings them to a whole new world. This park offers a singular experience in camping and a rare look at some of the most majestic and elusive animals in the country.
Acadia National Park – Maine
Now, this is a hiker’s dream come true! Acadia National Park is host to over 120 miles of trails, ranging from easy strolls to rigorous challenges. The area is full of historical sites worthy of in-depth exploration, including historic villages dating back to the 1800s. Stroll along the rocky beach for a chance to glimpse whales frolicking in the water, or head to the lighthouse for a view that has to be seen to be believed. And don’t forget to swing by the town of Bar Harbor for a restorative meal and some post-hike shopping!
What’s you’re favorite lesser-known National Park? Let us know in the comments below!